Concentration of Trace Elements in Raptors from Three Regions of Slovakia, Central Europe
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Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Hlinkova 3, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Komenského 73, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
Research Centre and Museum of the Tatra National Park, 059 06 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
Submission date: 2020-11-30
Final revision date: 2021-05-05
Acceptance date: 2021-05-14
Online publication date: 2021-10-13
Publication date: 2021-12-02
Corresponding author
Martina Miterpáková   

Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Science, Slovak Republic
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2021;30(6):5577-5591
Slovakia situated in the territory of Central Europe has a rich mining and industrial history with a strong pollutive impact on the environment, with heavy metals and metalloids as the most often analysed pollutants. Despite a relatively advanced toxic elements research, none enquiry has been performed in birds of prey, the most suitable bioindicators, in Slovakia yet. Regarding the lack of information, the presented study represents the first integrated results of the contamination status of raptor species with selected trace elements (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, manganese and lead). In all, livers and muscles of 80 individuals across twelve species were collected and analysed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Within the study, copper was the element detected with the highest concentrations, in several individuals overlapping the toxic threshold. Additionally, the results disclosed high hepatic lead concentrations, pointed to the probability of acute poisoning through lead shot ingestions, in three birds of prey. Subsequent comparative analyses revealed significantly higher concentrations of mercury in surveyed Spiš and Tatry region when compared with the other two sampling regions. Also, the highest average and median values concerning liver concentrations of cadmium and manganese and muscle concentrations of chromium were measured in samples originated from this region. The whole territory of the Spiš and Tatry region is covered by national parks and protected areas, and several European Important Bird Areas occurred there. Together with rich mining and smelting history and also the existence of natural geochemical anomalies, toxic elements biomonitoring should be continued in this area.
Finally, it can be concluded that the first oriented research in Slovakia showed that the concentration of monitored metals in the liver and muscles of birds of prey did not exceed the established tolerable levels, except for copper, cadmium, and lead, for which concentrations exceeding defined toxic thresholds were occasionally found and cases of intoxication them with were reported.
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